MEET THE TRAINERS

SARAH VOYNIK
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owner / trainer

Sarah Voynik grew up in Readfield, Maine and graduated from Thomas College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and from Purdue University Global with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a focus in Leadership and executive management.

 

During her childhood in Readfield, Sarah’s family raised puppies and trained field trial and hunting dogs, beginning her love for working with dogs. Sarah’s mom, Kathy, transitioned into training one of her dogs to find cadaver. Sarah trained with her mom’s dog, Denali, almost every day developing her skills as handler and trainer from a young age. Throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school, Sarah was always laying tracks for her mom, teaching puppies obedience in the backyard, or training field trial dogs.

 

While at Thomas College, Sarah accepted an internship position to train dogs with Merrill’s Detector Dog Services. Sarah’s initial internship started with obedience training and working with multiple dogs in the company, but she eventually got the opportunity to buy her own dog, Phiona, who she trained to detect explosives. Throughout her internship, Sarah developed the skills to not only train dogs in obedience, but to also train dogs in various scent detection roles. 

 

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, Sarah went on to work for Merrill’s Detector Dog Services as a handler, trainer, and kennel hand. Throughout her 8-year career with Merrill’s, Sarah has trained and worked with multiple scent detection canines, attended multiple seminars to expand her knowledge, and has been a driving force in growing the company into what it is today. As the Program Manager for Merrill’s, Sarah has managed the growth of the company, clients, and been point of contact on large scale events, such as the NBA Allstars, with over 30 teams across an entire city. 

 

Sarah currently lives in Augusta, Maine with her husband, Chris, and her 3 dogs, Phiona (Explosive Detection), Primrose (Service Dog in Training), and Belle (Retired Narcotics Detection).

Sarah is an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. 

aNNA HENDERSON
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trainer

Anna is a Maine native and a graduate from the University of Maine in Orono where she received a bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Science. She grew up on her grandfather’s Hereford cattle farm in Pittston where they raised many animals including hunting Beagles. Her family owned many dogs including Cairn Terriers, Labradors/mixes, and Bull Mastiffs. All of which she playfully taught as a child to hunt for toys, pull her in the water or by sled, and navigate the maze of obstacles she would make out of the household furniture.

As a teen she began training and competing in the Maine Quarter Horse Association. What began as riding lessons at a farm in Belgrade turned into a love and passion for training animals. Through many opportunities she developed her skills training Quarter Horses and instructing new riders in lessons and camps for all ages.

During her college years she began her journey into the pet industry through a local, organic dog shampoo company. She soon became determined to dedicate her life to her beloved Golden Retriever, Gaby. After graduation she moved to Texas to pursue her passion for training. She holds three certifications in dog training and behavior modification from Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers in Hutto, Texas.

Since her start in 2014, she has trained dogs in five different states, managed a doggie daycare, served as the Director of Canine Education at Highland Canine Training’s School for Dog Trainers, and evaluated, trained, and successfully placed rescue dogs into forever homes through her work at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society (KVHS).

Along with instructing lessons at Merrills, Anna runs her own company, Maine Canine Company, which focuses on boarding, her pupSTAR program, and day outings! She has a Rat Terrier mix named Taco she adopted from a shelter while living in Texas, a Dalmatian named Janis and a cat, Phoenix, who she adopted from KVHS.

Anna is an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. 

Missy Pitcher
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Trainer
SAvage Bloomer
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Assistant trainer

Savage was born and raised in Cherryfield, Maine. He grew up surrounded by dogs and has always had a passion for training. 

In 2018, Savage began working for Merrill's Detector Dog Services as a kennel attendant, helping with the care, maintenance, and training for up to 15 dogs. Over the last 3 years, Savage has expanded his knowledge for dog training by shadowing all Merrill's trainers, learning both obedience and detection training skills. 

Savage joined Merrill's K9 Academy when we opened in order to expand his knowledge of detection training and sat in on all classes he could. Over the last year, Savage has become proficient in Merrill's K9 Academy's training skills and methodology. He currently helps out with private and group lessons, and helps run all Day School activities.

In his personal life, Savage lives in Augusta, Maine and is working towards becoming a Certified Flight Instructor, with a goal of flying in the Military. He is currently a enlisted in the Maine National Guard as a Jet Propulsion Mechanic. 

Missy grew up on a farm in Corinna, Maine. Growing up, Missy was always an animal lover and was the go-to neighborhood pet sitter. Her first job was on a dairy farm milking cows and feeding calfs where she then began riding horses and barrel racing.

In 2016 Missy adopted her first dog, Tucker, who was a hot mess express. From there, Missy knew this dog needed extensive training and started shadowing and observing other trainers in order to learn how to train her own dog. After learning the basics from multiple trainers, Missy went on to learn more about dog nutrition and health. Eventually, Missy began working at Foxcroft Veterinary Services in 2017 until this year as Technician and receptionist. Missy currently holds a CPR and First-Aid certification for dogs. 

In 2017 Missy helped start a boarding, grooming, and daycare facility. Missy started off caring for boarding dogs, began helping with simple grooms, and eventually became a daycare manager and offered training.

In 2018, Missy met Roger Guay, a retired Maine Warden in Northern Maine, where she began scent detection with her dogs. Missy jumped right into scent work and stated attending multiple seminars and learning as much as she could. She adopted her current bed bug dog, Summit, and has been working bed bug jobs for Merrill's Detector Dog Services since the beginning of 2021.

Missy currently lives in Sangerville with her dogs (Tucker and Summit), 2 goats (Johnny and June), a rabbit (Dragon), a horse (Buckshot), a cow (Bo), and a cat (Bradley).